Sun Chemical is working with digital press manufacturer HP Indigo to produce a range of coatings to speed up the adoption of digital printing in the packaging industry.
A new range of coatings including overprint varnishes and adhesives specially formulated for use in digital devices is set to be launched in the next few weeks.
Marcos Valdezate, Sun Chemical’s business development manager for coatings for digital applications, said: “We recognise that some transformation of the packaging industry as we know it today in terms of printing, is already starting to happen. Some large converters have already started looking into digital processes so the aim of this agreement is to facilitate that transition by enabling end-to-end solutions.
“Our intention is to ensure that the printers and converters can deliver the performance required by the brand owners to packaging specification and industry standards – that the inks are staying on the surface and wedding properly to the substrates with the appropriate resistance, effects and desired finishes.”
Valdezate said that HP Indigo had already invested a great deal of time and resources upgrading print processes and workflows that would facilitate packaging applications, so the work by Sun Chemical in developing coatings and adhesives is one of the key enablers to making digital packaging production a reality.
He said Sun Chemical has been working with HP Indigo for a while and already provides a limited range of adhesives for use on its machines, but wants to build on those with an expanded range of products adding new functionalities.
“We shall soon be releasing a digital coating portfolio under a unified Sun Chemical corporate identity to ensure HP Indigo customers have access to a proven track record of added-value solutions, regardless of their geographical location,” Valdezate said.
As well as working with press engineers at HP, Sun has also been working closely with printers, converters and brand owners to identify their needs and ensure that the new range of coatings meets the requirements throughout the value chain.
“It will be a significant way forward,” Valdezate said. “One of the big advantages of digital printing is it gives you the ability to personalise each print, and we know that is important for brand owners as it unleashes new possibilities to communicate with end-users, hence making packaging more meaningful.”
He said this has been proven in different campaigns like KitKat and Coca-Cola, but the challenge for the industry is to establish digital as a “true cost-effective alternative”.
HP Indigo currently offers three digital presses for packaging applications ranging from labels and shrink sleeves to flexible packaging and folding cartons. The HP Indigo 20000 is for labels and flexible packaging up to a web width of 30in (762mm) and substrates up to 250 microns; the HP Indigo 8000 is a narrow-web printing solution for labels and packaging production, and the HP Indigo WS6800 is another narrow-web press which incorporates the HP Indigo ElectroInk Premium White ink.